AntiMatter Technology Problems

AntiMatter Technology Problems

 

AntiMatter Technology Problems by, Concept Activity Research Vault

May 16, 2011 09:42:4 ( PST ) Updated ( Originally Published: May 10, 2011 )

CALIFORNIA, Los Angeles – May 16, 2011 – The global scientific community is eyeing suspiciously a 1952 ‘experimental projects’ organization known as the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire ( CERN ) [ ( also known as ) European Organization for Nuclear Research ] wherein its Large Hadron Collider ( LHC ) consists of a huge 27-mile in diameter high-energy particle collider is conducting some extremely serious experiments involving what scientists and physicisys say involves something called a “CP-violation” that deals with creating a variety of new subatomic particles that are believed to have never existed anywhere on Earth.

There is quite a bit of controversy concerning something called a “strangelet” ( strangelets ) and other particle creations within the CERN experiment, which because of conjectures in scientific theories are feared by some professionals, could create a ’new subatomic particle’ that may upset the balance of Earth as we know it, and what is even more frightening is that if something goes out-of-control, it may take anywhere between 1-year to 5-years ‘before anyone notices a chain reaction having already been created that some have already identified as a ‘micro-blackhole’ that could theoretically begin consuming Earth from within its own magnetic iron core. Sounding like ‘science fiction’, apparently CERN experiments are ’definitely not’ something to be taken lightly.

This serious and highly controversial subject amongst scientists and physicists around the world is being touched-on in this report, amongst other related information, amongst which includes video clips ( below ) for better understanding some of the many aspects for public knowledge not being addressed by mainstream news broadcasts.

CERN went even further, though, by expanding its deep underground experiments to conduct related experiments in outerspace within what it calls the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS / AMS-02 ) now scheduled for launch aboard the U.S. Space Shuttle Endeavor STS-134 mission set for May 16, 2011. The AMS-02 is, however, to be delivered to the International Space Station ( ISS ) where it will continue CERN designated experiments.

Interestingly, during July 2010 the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS / AMS02 ) was ‘not’ launched as the video clip ( above ) depicted. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS / AMS-02 ), being equated to that of the Hubble space telescope, actually holds far more technological advancements from CERN and is solely designed to focus on subatomic particles surrounding antimatter issues.

U.S. Space Shuttle Endeavor mission STS-134 was scheduled to launch on April 14, 2011 but was delayed until the end of April 2011, but then was delayed yet again until May 16, 2011. Why so many delays and reschedulings?

Earth anti-matter issues are rarely addressed by the mainstream news media with the public, however in-lieu of the recent NASA public warning that it is expecting a ‘significant’ “solar flare” to erupt, coming bound for Earth, as something “we all need to be concerned about,” the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS ) having just been recently placed onboard the U.S. Space Shuttle Endeavour mission – scheduled to deliver the AMS aboard the International Space Station ( ISS ) – is something the public really needs to take a closer look at.

[ PHOTO ( above ): Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS / AMS-02 ) in U.S. Space Shuttle Endeavour cargo bay April 2011 ( click to enlarge ) ]

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Source: Nature.Com

AntiUniverse Here We Come by, Eugenie Samuel Reich

May 4, 2011

A controversial cosmic ray detector destined for the International Space Station will soon get to prove its worth.

The next space-shuttle launch will inaugurate a quest for a realm of the Universe that few believe exists.

Nothing in the laws of physics rules out the possibility that vast regions of the cosmos consist mainly of anti-matter, with anti-galaxies, anti-stars, even anti-planets populated with anti-life.

“If there’s matter, there must be anti-matter. The question is, where’s the Universe made of antimatter?” says Professor Samuel C.C. Ting, a Nobel prize winning physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( MIT ) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. But most physicists reason that if such antimatter regions existed, we would have seen the light emitted when the particles annihilated each other along the boundaries between the antimatter and the matter realms. No wonder the Professor Samuel C.C. Ting brainchild, a $2,000,000,000 billion dollar space mission was sold ‘partly on the promise of looking for particles emanating from anti-galaxies’, is fraught with controversy.

Professor Ting’s project, however has other ‘more mainstream scientific goals’ so, most critics of which held their tongues last week as the U.S. Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-134 mission – prepared to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS version, known as the AMS-02 ) to the International Space Station ( ISS ) – flight was delayed ( because of problems ) until later this month ( May 2011 ).

Pushing The Boundaries

Seventeen ( 17 ) years in the making, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS ) is a product of the former NASA administrator Dan Goldin quest to find remarkable science projects for the Internation Space Station ( ISS ) and of the Ting fascination with anti-matter.

Funded by NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy ( DOE ), plus a sixteen ( 16 ) country consortium of partners, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS ) has prevailed – despite delays and technical problems – along with the doubts of many high-energy and particle physicists.

“Physics is not about doubt,” says Roberto Battiston, deputy spokesman for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS ) and physicist at the University of Perugia, Italy. “It is about precision measurement.”

As the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS ) experiment headed to the Space Shuttle Endeavour launch pad, Roberto Battiston and other scientists were keen to emphasize the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS ) ‘unprecedented sensitivity’ to the gamut of cosmic rays, that rain down on Earth, that should allow the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS ) to perform two ( 2 ) things:

1. Measure Cosmic Ray High-Energy Charged ‘Particles’ and ‘Properties’ ( thereof ), sent from:

– Sun ( Earth’s ); – Supernovae ( distant ); and, – γ-ray bursts.

AND,

2. Detect AntiMatter ( errant chunks ), sent from the:

a. Universe ( far-away ).

Cosmic rays ( on Earth ) can only be indirectly detected by their showers of ‘secondary particles’ produced – when slamming into molecules of atmosphere in high regions above the Earth, but the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS ) in space will get an undistorted view.

“We’ll be able to measure ( solar ) Cosmic Ray Flux very precisely,” says collaboration member physicist Fernando Barão of the Laboratory of Instrumentation and Experimental Particle Physics in Lisbon, Spain. “The best place ( for detecting this ) is to be in ‘space’ because you don’t have Earth’s atmosphere that is going to destroy those cosmic rays.”

No matter what happens, with the more speculative search for antimatter, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS ) should produce a definitive map of the cosmic ray sky – helping to build a kind of ‘astronomy not dependent on light’.

Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS ) consists of a powerful permanent magnet surrounded by a suite of particle detectors.

Over 10-years ( or more ), that the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS ) experiment will run, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS ) magnet will bend the paths of cosmic rays by an amount that reveals their energy and charge, thereby their identity.

Some will be ‘heavy atomic nuclei’, while others ( made from anti-matter ), will reveal themselves by ‘bending in the opposite direction’ from their ‘matter’ counterparts ( see, e.g. cosmic curveballs ).

By ‘counting positrons’ ( i.e. antimatter ‘electrons’ ), the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS ) could also ‘chase a tentative signal of dark matter’, the so-far ‘undetected stuff’ thought to account for ‘much of the mass of the Universe’.

In 2009, Russia and Italy researchers – with the Payload for Antimatter Matter Exploration and Light-nuclei Astrophysics ( PAMELA ) onboard a Russia satellite – published evidence of an ‘excess amount of positrons in the space environment surrounding Earth’ ( O. Adriani et al. Nature 458 , 607–609; 2009 ). One potential source of this is the ‘annihilation of dark-matter particles’ within the ‘halo enveloping our Galaxy’.

Another speculative quest, is to follow up on hints of ‘strange matter’, a ‘hypothetical substance’ that should be found in ‘some collapsed stars’ containing ‘strange quarks’, ‘up quarks’ and ‘down quarks’ – within ordinary nuclei.

NASA Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS ) program manager Mark Sistilli says hints of ‘strange matter’ were seen – during a 1998 pilot flight of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS / AMS-01 ) aboard the Space Shuttle, however NASA determined results ‘too tentative to publish’.

Because the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS / AMS-02 ) status was made as an “exploration mission,” the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS ) ‘did not need to follow’ “peer review” NASA would ‘normally have required’ for a ”science mission.”

But Sistilli emphasizes the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer ( AMS ) earned flying colors from committees convened by the U.S. Department of Energy ( DOE ), which is supplying $50,000,000 million of the funding.

Now their ( DOE ) confidence will be put to the test.

Reference

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110504/full/473013a.html

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While for some it may appear strangelet subatomic antimatter particle research is for advancing our knowledge of unlocking the secrets of life in the Universe, others are still asking NASA what they really know is behind ‘why’ an ‘expected significant’ Solar Energetic Particle Event ( SEPE ) is something “we all need to be concerned about” on Earth.

With Solar Energetic Particle Event ( SEPE ) high-energy effects capable of disrupting Earth ground-based and space-based electrical components and electricity grid infrastructure systems for up to 10-years, many wonder why billions upon billions of dollars were and are still being pumped into the CERN project studying ‘strangelets’ and want to know just why we need ‘more immediate information detection capabilities’ on high-energy solar flare proton and electron ejections coming toward Earth soon, which NASA and other agencies ‘know far more about’ than they are willing to tell the public.

How advanced has government authorities grown from private-sector science and technology knowledge? The United States has already mapped internal magma flows of the Sun.

How could the U.S. government possibly ‘see inside the Sun’ to know when a coronal mass ejection from a solar flare would occur in the future?

In layman terms, for government it was like looking through a clear glass Pyrex bowl positioned atop a stove burner, watching as water starts to boil inside it, and then predicting – based on the flame heating it the water – when bubbles will come to the surface, when one takes into account a government ’ground-based’ ( does ‘not’ require ‘space-based placement’ ) observatory telescope equipped with a “super lens” used for imaging ( observing ) ‘objects at great distances inside matter’ – a “superlens” that now even ‘defies light-speed’ and ‘matter’. ( Read Below )

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[ PHOTO ( above ): Antimatter photon ‘optic’ substrate structure material for ‘subsurface solar imaging plasma flows’ inside Sun enables plotting Coronal Mass Ejections ‘before solar surface eruptions’ ( click to enlarge ) ]

Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Operated by the University of California

Optical Antimatter Structure Shows The Way For New Super Lens by, Aditi Risbud

April 21, 2009

A device, made from alternating layers of ‘air’ and ‘silicon photonic crystal’, behaves like a ‘super lens’ – providing the first experimental demonstration of optical antimatter.

Scientists at Berkeley Lab ( Berkeley, California, USA ) and the Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems ( CNR ) in Naples, Italy have experimentally demonstrated – for the first time – the ‘concept of optical antimatter’ by ‘light traveling through a material without being distorted’.

By engineering a material focusing light through its own internal structure, a beam of light can enter and exit ( unperturbed ) after traveling through millimeters of material.

For years, optics researchers have struggled to bypass the ‘diffraction limit’, a physical law restricting imaging resolution to about 1/2 the wavelength of light used to make the image.

If a material with a negative index of refraction ( a property describing how light bends as it enters or exits a material ) could be designed, this diffraction hurdle could be lowered.

Such a material could also behave as a superlens, useful in observing objects from imaging equipment with ‘details finer than allowed by the diffraction limit’, a physical law restricting imaging resolution to about 1/2 the wavelength of light used to make the image.

Despite the intriguing possibilities posed, by a substance with a negative index of refraction, ‘this property is inaccessible through naturally occurring ( positive index ) materials’.

During the mid 1990s, English theoretical physicist Sir John Pendry proposed his clever ‘sleight of light’ using so-called metamaterials – engineered ‘materials’ whose underlying structure ‘can alter overall responses’ to ‘electrical fields’ and ‘magnetic fields’.

Inspired by the Sir John Pendry proposal, scientists have made progress in scaling metamaterials from microwave to infrared wavelengths while illuminating the nuances of light-speed and direction-of-motion in such engineered structures.

“We’ve shown a ‘completely new way to control and manipulate light’, ‘using a silicon photonic crystal’ as a ‘real metamaterial’ – and it works,” said Stefano Cabrini, Facility Director of the Nanofabrication Facility in the Molecular Foundry, a U.S. Department of Energy ( DOE ) User Facility located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ( LBNL ) providing support to nanoscience researchers around the world.

“Our findings will open-up an easier way to make structures and use them effectively as a ‘super-lens’.”

Through the Molecular Foundry user program, Cabrini and post-doctoral researcher Allan Chang collaborated with Vito Mocella, a theoretical scientist at the Institute of Microelectronics and Microsystems ( CNR ) in Naples, Italy to fabricate a 2 X 2 millimeter device consisting of alternating layers of air and a silicon based photonic crystal containing air holes.

Using high precision nanofabrication processes, the team designed the spacing and thicknesses of each layer to behave like the metamaterial Sir John Pendry had envisioned.

This device was then used to focus a beam of near-infrared ( I-R ) light, essentially ‘annihilating’ 2 millimeters of ‘space’.

“Now that we have a prototype to demonstrate the concept, our next step will be to find the geometry and material that will work for visible light,” said Cabrini.

Along with possibilities in imaging, the researchers’ findings could also be used to develop hybrid negative-index and positive-index materials, Cabrini added, which may lead to novel ‘devices’ and ‘systems’ unachievable through either material alone.

“Self-collimation of light over millimeter-scale distance in a quasi zero average index metamaterial,” by Vito Mocella, Stefano Cabrini, Allan S.P. Chang, P. Dardano, L. Moretti, I. Rendina, Deirdre Olynick, Bruce Harteneck and Scott Dhuey, appears in Physical Review Letters available in Physical Review Letters online.

Portions of this work were supported by the U.S. Department of Energy ( DOE ) Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Contract No. DE-AC0205CH11231.

The Molecular Foundry is one ( 1 ) of five ( 5 ) U.S. Department of Energy ( DOE ) Nanoscale Science Research Centers ( NSRC ) that are premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale. Together, the U.S. Department of Energy ( DOE ) Nanoscale Science Research Centers ( NSRC ) comprise a suite of complementary facilities providing researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, which constitutes the ‘largest infrastructure investment’ of the National Nanotechnology Initiative ( NNI ).

U.S. Department of Energy ( DOE ) Nanoscale Science Research Centers ( NSRC ) are located at these six ( 6 ) locations:

– Argonne National Laboratory ( ANL ); – Brookhaven National Laboratory ( BNL ); – Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ( LBNL ); – Oak Ridge National Laboratory ( ORNL ); – Sandia National Laboratory ( SNL ); and, – Los Alamos National Laboratory ( LANL ).

For more information about the DOE NSRCs, please visit http://nano.energy.gov.

Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy ( DOE ) National Laboratory located in Berkeley, California conducting ‘unclassified scientific research’ managed by the University of California.

References

http://www.lbl.gov http://foundry.lbl.gov http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-stories/2009/04/21/optical-antimatter

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If the public could keep its eye open for one second, it would see what is coming at them before it hits them with a surprise that only government knows anything about, but governments have spoken mysteriously to citizens for a very long time, but perhaps a mere fact ’known today’ may eventually come as no surprise to many whom would have otherwise been kept in the dark while only a few know far more about what awaits the masses.

Perhaps, people may begin asking more questions of their country’s agencies spending so much money so quickly for apparently some ‘mysterious emergency purpose’, and if not for some ‘mysterious emergency purpose’, why is so much money being spent on science and space projects while the global public is told about serious government budget cutbacks causing so many people to suffer? If there is no ’emergency’, then people should know ‘why they are suffering financially more’ – just for the sake of ‘growing science experiment budgets’? Might be a good idea for everyone to begin keeping their eyes open a little more often and trained on something more than light-hearted mainstream media news comedy broadcasts.

If people think they get real serious about ‘what they know’ as told on television news broadcasts, imagine how much more serious they will become when they learn about what they ‘were not told’?

Think about it. How Fast Is Technology Growing? Just beginning to grasp something ‘new’? Now think about something even newer than the Large Hadron Collider ( LHC ) at CERN, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider ( RHIC ) that added its Solenoidal Tracker At RHIC ( STAR ) claiming to ‘reverse time’ by ultra super computers reconstructing sub-atomic particle interactions producing particles – emerging from each collision – that STAR is believed to be able to ‘run time backward’ in a process equated to examining final products coming out-of a factory that scientists and physicists have no idea ’what kinds of machines produced the products’. Basically, they are developing items so fast, they do not know how they were formed, much less what the capabilities are. Fact is, ’they could easily produce a monster’ and ‘not know what it is until after they are eaten by it’. Scary, really, like kids being given matches to play with.

They are being educated beyond their own intelligence, so much so and to the point by which scientists and physicists ’cannot even grasp what ‘it’ is they’re looking at – much less know what they are trying to manipulate to ‘see what it does next’ – nevertheless they are conducting experiments like children playing with dynamite.

Think this is science fiction? Think they are mad scientists at play? Check the research reference links ( below ). Think antimatter technology has advanced alot since you began reading this report? calculate ‘more’ because the public does not even know half of it.

CERN has been operating since 2002, and the “SuperLens” was worked-on ‘before’ 2002, making ‘both’ today now 10-years old.

Want newer ‘news’?

Superlenses – created from perovskite oxides – are simpler and easier to fabricate than ‘metamaterials’.

Superlenses are ideal for capturing light travelling in the mid-infra-red ( IR ) spectrum range, opening even newer technological highly sensitive imaging devices, and this superlensing effect can be selectively turned ‘on’ and ‘off’, opening yet another technology of ‘highly dense data storage writing’ for ‘far more advanced capability computers’.

Plasmonic whispering gallery microcavities, consisting of a silica interior coated with a thin layer of silver, ‘improves quality by better than an order of magnitude’ of current plasmonic microcavities. and paves the way for ‘plasmonic nanolasers’.

Expand your knowledge, begin researching the six ( 6 ) reference links ( below ) so that the next time you watch the ‘news’ you’ll begin to realize just how much you’re ‘not being told’ about what is ‘actually far more important’ – far more than you’re used to imagining.

 

Submitted for review and commentary by,

 

Concept Activity Research Vault E-MAIL: ConceptActivityResearchVault@Gmail.Com WWW: http://ConceptActivityResearchVault.WordPress.Com

References

http://www.bnl.gov/rhic/
http://www.bnl.gov/rhic/STAR.asp
http://www.bnl.gov/bnlweb/pubaf/pr/PR_display.asp?prID=1075&template=Today
http://newscenter.lbl.gov/news-releases/2011/03/29/perovskite-based-superlens-for-the-infrared/
http://newscenter.lbl.gov/news-releases/2009/01/22/plasmonic-whispering-gallery/
http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=1018060

 

MSN Warns Disasters

MSN Warns Disasters

 

MSN Warns Disasters by, Concept Activity Research Vault

March 7, 2012 18:22:42 ( PST ) Updated ( Originally Published: May 16, 2011 )

Los Angeles – May 16, 2011 – MSN Slate News reported ( read article below ) that a host of disasters are coming, which ‘the public should not become overly worried about’, but suggests throwing a celebration-like “18th Century Weekend” in-advance so ‘people can experience what a solar flare disaster might be like to live through’.

While the suggested Medieval celebratory affair ‘concept’ is ‘unique’, MSN suggesting the public ‘stock up on batteries’ was a bit off because apparently the journalist did not realize ‘batteries become drained’ subsequent to an environmental anomaly ‘overcharging’ from an ambient auroral current attributable to what occurs during a Solar Energetic Particle Event ( SEPE );  ‘candles’ or ‘lumeniscent gel sticks’ ( shake lights ) would work amidst such, however mainstream news media broadcasts and print media, without thoroughly researching facts first, have a habit of passing inaccurate information on to the general public, and at the same time, doing it mostly in a whimsical fashion so it can be easily swallowed by the public. That type of reporting does ‘not’ help the public, but only serves to provide the illusion that what is being reported about will probably never happen. Big mistake!

News reporting, as a public service, should take far more care when reporting about emergency disaster preparedness on ‘what to do’ and just ‘how to prepare’; especially when it comes to mentioning a ‘significant’ solar flare ( also known as ) a Solar Energetic Particle Event ( SEPE ) that could quickly and very seriously disable the national electricity infrastructure without warning.

To let CARV readers review how MSN Slate News recently put it to the general public, we cordially invite ‘you’ ( our readers ) to review the MSN Slate News report ( below ) so, you can be the judge on whom to rely on for delivering your emergency disaster preparedness information from.

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Source: MSN Slate News

Meltdowns. Floods. Tornadoes. Oil spills. Grid crashes. Why more and more things seem to be going wrong, and what we can do about it.

The Century of Disasters by, Joel Achenbach

May 13, 2011 5:56 PM ( EST )

This will be the century of disasters.

In the same way that the 20th century was the century of world wars, genocide, and grinding ideological conflict, the 21st century will be the century of natural disasters and technological crises and unholy combinations of the two.

It will be the century when the things we count on to go right will – for whatever reason – go wrong.

Late last month ( April 2011 ), as the Mississippi River rose in what is destined to be the worst flood in decades, residents of Alabama and other states rummaged through the debris of a historic tornado outbreak.

Physicists at a meeting in Anaheim, California had a discussion about the dangers posed by the Sun.

Solar flares, scientists believe, are a disaster waiting to happen. Thus one of the sessions at the American Physical Society annual meeting was devoted to discussing the hazard of electromagnetic pulses ( EMP ) caused by solar flares – or terrorist attacks. Such pulses ( EMP ) could fry transformers and knock out the electrical grid over much of the nation. Last year the Oak Ridge National Laboratory released a study saying the damage might take years to fix and cost trillions of dollars.

But maybe even that is not the disaster people should be worrying about.

Maybe they should worry instead about the “ARkStorm.” That’s the name the U.S. Geological Survey ( USGS ) Multihazards Demonstration Project ( MDP ) gave to a hypothetical storm that would essentially turn much of the California Central Valley into a bathtub. It has happened before, in 1861 – 1862, when it rained for 45-days continously. USGS explains, “The ARkStorm draws heat and moisture from the tropical Pacific, forming a series of “Atmospheric Rivers” ( AR ) that approach the ferocity of hurricanes and then slam into the United States West Coast over several weeks.” The result, the USGS determined, could be a flood that would cost $725,000,000 billion in direct property losses and economic impact.

While pondering this, don’t forget the Cascadia subduction zone, the plate boundary off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, that could generate a tsunami much like the one that devastated Japan in March 2011. The Cascadia subduction zone, runs from Vancouver Island to northern California, last rupturing in a major tsunami spawning earthquake on January 26, 1700. It could break at any moment, with catastrophic consequences.

All of these things have the common feature of low probability and high consequence.

They are known as “black swan” events.

They are unpredictable in any practical sense.

There are also things ordinary people probably should not worry about on a daily basis.

You can’t fear the Sun.

You cannot worry a rock will fall out of the sky and smash the Earth, or that the ground will open up and swallow you like a vitamin.

A key element of maintaining one’s sanity is ‘knowing how to ignore risks’ that are highly improbable at any given point in time.

And yet in the coming century, these or other ‘black swan events’ will seem to occur with surprising frequency.

There are several reasons for this.

We have chosen to engineer the planet.

We have built vast networks of technology.

We have created systems that, in general, work very well, but are still vulnerable to catastrophic failures.

It is harder and harder for any one person, institution, or agency to perceive all the interconnected elements of the technological society.

Failures can cascade.

There are unseen weak points in the network.

Small failures can have broad consequences.

Most importantly, we have more people and more stuff standing in the way of calamity.

We are not suddenly having more earthquakes, but there are now 7,000,000,000 billion of us, a majority living in cities.

In 1800, only Beijing, China could count 1,000,000 inhabitants, but at last count there were 381 cities with at least 1,000,000 people.

Many are MegaCities in seismically hazardous places like Mexico City, Caracas, Venezuela; Tehran, Iran and Kathmandu amongst those with a lethal combination of weak infrastructure ( unreinforced masonry buildings ) and shaky foundations.

Natural disasters will increasingly be accompanied by technological crises, and the other way around.

In March 2011, the Japan earthquake triggered the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant meltdown.

Last year ( 2010 ), a technological failure on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig – in the Gulf of Mexico – led to the environmental crisis of the oil spill. ( I chronicle the Deepwater Horizon blowout and the ensuing crisis management in a new book: A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea: The Race to Kill the BP Oil Gusher. )

In both the Deepwater Horizon and Fukushima disasters, the safety systems were not nearly as robust as the industries believed.

In these technological accidents, there are hidden pathways for the gremlins to infiltrate the operation.

In the case of Deepwater Horizon, a series of decisions by BP ( oil company ) and its contractors led to a loss of well control — the initial blowout. The massive blowout preventer on the sea floor was equipped with a pair of pinchers known as ‘blind shear rams’. They were supposed to cut the drillpipe and shear the well. The forensic investigation indicated the initial eruption of gas buckled the pipe and prevented the blind shear rams from getting a clean bite on it so, the “backup” plan — of cutting the pipe — was effectively eliminated in the initial event; the loss of well control.

Fukushima also had a backup plan that was not far enough back. The nuclear power plant had backup generators – in case the grid went down – but the generators were on ‘low’ ground and were blasted by the tsunami.

Without electricity the power company had no way to cool the nuclear fuel rods.

In a sense, it was a very simple problem: a power outage.

Some modern reactors coming online have passive cooling systems for backups that rely on gravity and evaporation to circulate the cooling water.

Charles Perrow, author of Normal Accidents, told me that computer infrastructure is a disaster in the making.

“Watch out for failures in cloud computing,” he said by e-mail, “They will have consequences for medical monitoring systems and much else.”

Technology also mitigates disasters, of course.

Pandemics remain a threat, but modern medicine can help us stay a step ahead of evolving microbes.

Satellites and computer models helped meteorologists anticipate the deadly storms of April 27, 2011 and warn people to find cover in advance of the twisters.

Better building codes save lives in earthquakes. Chile, which has strict building codes, was hit with a powerful earthquake last year ( 2010 ) but suffered only a fraction of the fatalities and damage that impoverished Haiti endured just weeks earlier.

The current ( 2011 ) Mississippi flood is an example of technology at work for better and for worse.

As I write, the Army Corps of Engineers are poised to open the Morganza spillway and flood much of the Atchafalaya basin. That’s not a “disaster” but a solution of sorts, since the alternative is the flooding of cities downstream and possible levee failure. Of course, the levees might still fail. We’ll see. But this is how the system is ‘supposed’ to work.

On the other hand, the broader drainage system of the Mississippi River watershed is set up in a way that it makes floods more likely. Corn fields, for example in parts of the upper Midwest, have been “tiled” with pipes that carry excess rainwater rapidly to the rip-rap ( small stone ladden ) streams and onward down to rivers lined with levees. We gave up natural drainage decades ago.

The Mississippi is like a catheter, at this point. Had nature remained in charge, the river would have mitigated much of its downstream flooding by spreading into natural floodplains further up river ( and the main channel would have long ago switched to the Atchafalaya river basin — see John McPhee “The Control of Nature” — and New Orleans would no longer be a riverfront city).

One wild card for how disastrous this century will become is climate change.

There’s been a robust debate on the blogs about whether the recent weather events ( tornadoes and floods ) can be attributed to climate change.

It is a briar patch of an issue and I’ll exercise my right to skip past it for the most part.

But I think it’s clear that climate change will exacerbate natural disasters in general in coming years, and introduce a new element of risk and uncertainty into a future in which we have plenty of risks and uncertainties already. This, we don’t need.

And by the way, any discussion of “geoengineering” as a solution to climate change needs to be examined with the understanding that engineering systems can and will fail.

You don’t want to bet, the future of the planet, on an elaborate technological fix in which everything has to work perfectly. If failure is not an option, maybe you ‘should not’ try-it to begin-with.

So if we cannot engineer our-way out-of our ‘engineered disasters’, and if ‘natural disasters’ are going to keep pummeling us – as they have since the dawn of time — what is our strategy? Other than, you-know, despair? Well, that has always worked for me, but here are a few more practical thoughts to throw in the mix:

First [ 1st ], we might want to try some regulation by people with no skin in the game. That might mean, for example, government regulators who make as much money as the people they’re regulating. Or it could even mean a ‘private-sector regulatory apparatus policing the industry’, cracking down on rogue operators. The point is, we don’t want every risky decision made by people with pecuniary interests.

Second [ 2nd ], we need to keep things in perspective. The apparent onslaught of disasters does not portend the end of the world. Beware of ‘disaster hysteria in the news media’. The serial disasters of the 21st century will be – to some extent – a matter of perception. It will feel like we are bouncing from disaster-to-disaster in-part because of the shrinking of the world and the ubiquity of communications technology. Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta are always in a disaster zone somewhere – demanding to know why the cavalry [ emergency first responders ] has not showed up.

Third [ 3rd ], we should think in terms of ‘how we can boost’ our “societal resilience;” the buzz-word in the ‘disaster preparedness industry’.

Think of what you would do, and what your community would do, after a disaster.

You cannot always dodge the disaster, but perhaps you can still figure-out how to recover quickly.

How would we ‘communicate’ if we got [ solar ] flared by the Sun and the [ electricity ] grid went down over 2/3rds of the country?

How would we even know what was going on?

Maybe we need to have the occasional “18th Century weekend” – to see how people might get through a couple of days without the [ electricity ] grid, cell [ telephone ] towers, cable TV [ television ], iTunes downloads – the full Hobbesian nightmare. And make an emergency plan: Buy some ‘batteries’ [ < ? > NOTE: solar flare effects, during a Solar Energetic Particle Event ( SEPE ), renders ‘all batteries dead’. ] and jugs of water – just for starters.

Figure-out how things around you work.

Learn about your community infrastructure.

Read about science, technology, engineering and ‘do not worry if you do not understand all the jargon’.

And then – having done that – go on about your lives, pursuing happiness on a planet that, though sometimes dangerous, is by-far the best one we’ve got.

Reference

http://www.slate.com/id/2294013/pagenum/all/#p2

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Hopefully, people will take an opportunity to read the CARV report on Solar Energetic Particle Event Effects so they can ‘really know what to prepare for soon’,  ’before celebrating’ an “18th Century weekend” affair – complete with “batteries” – as suggested by the MSN Slate News article ( above ).

Although the aforementioned Slate News article indicates, “Solar flares, scientists believe, are a disaster waiting to happen. Thus one of the sessions at the American Physical Society annual meeting was devoted to discussing the hazard of electromagnetic pulses ( EMP ) caused by solar flares – or terrorist attacks. Such pulses ( EMP ) could fry transformers and knock out the electrical grid over much of the nation. Last year the Oak Ridge National Laboratory released a study saying the damage might take years to fix and cost trillions of dollars. But maybe even that is not the disaster people should be worrying about,” – we actually ‘may’ have ‘something “people should be worrying about,” as MSNBC puts it, or “concerned about,” according to NASA, in-lieu of the following MSNBC Space.Com report ( below ):

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Source: MSNBC.COM

 

Huge Solar Flare’s Magnetic Storm May Disrupt Satellites, Power Grids

 

March 7, 2012 13:19 p.m. Eastern Standard Time ( EST )

 

A massive solar flare that erupted from the Sun late Tuesday ( March 6, 2012 ) is unleashing one of the most powerful solar storms in more than 5-years, ‘a solar tempest that may potentially interfere with satellites in orbit and power grids when it reaches Earth’.

 

“Space weather has gotten very interesting over the last 24 hours,” Joseph Kunches, a space weather scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ( NOAA ), told reporters today ( March 7, 2012 ). “This was quite the Super Tuesday — you bet.”

 

Several NASA spacecraft caught videos of the solar flare as it hurled a wave of solar plasma and charged particles, called a Coronal mass Ejection ( CME ), into space. The CME is not expected to hit Earth directly, but the cloud of charged particles could deliver a glancing blow to the planet.

 

Early predictions estimate that the Coronal Mass Ejections ( CMEs ) will reach Earth tomorrow ( March 8, 2012 ) at 07:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time ( EST ), with the ‘effects likely lasting for 24-hours and possibly lingering into Friday ( March 9, 2012 )’, Kunches said.

 

The solar eruptions occurred late Tuesday night ( March 6, 2012 ) when the sun let loose two ( 2 ) huge X-Class solar flares that ‘ranked among the strongest type’ of sun storms. The biggest of those 2 flares registered as an X Class Category 5.4 solar flare geomagnetic storm on the space weather scale, making it ‘the strongest sun eruption so far this year’.

 

Typically, Coronal Mass Ejections ( CMEs ) contain 10,000,000,000 billion tons of solar plasma and material, and the CME triggered by last night’s ( March 6, 2012 ) X-Class Category 5.4 solar flare is ‘the one’ that could disrupt satellite operations, Kunches said.

 

“When the shock arrives, the expectation is for heightened geomagnetic storm activity and the potential for heightened solar radiation,” Kunches said.

 

This heightened geomagnetic activity and increase in solar radiation could impact satellites in space and ‘power grids on the ground’.

 

Some high-precision GPS ( Global Positioning Satellite ) users could also be affected, he said.

 

“There is the potential for ‘induced currents in power grids’,” Kunches said. “‘Power grid operators have all been alerted’. It could start to ’cause some unwanted induced currents’.”

 

Airplanes that fly over the polar caps could also experience communications issues during this time, and some commercial airliners have already taken precautionary actions, Kunches said.

 

Powerful solar storms can also be hazardous to astronauts in space, and NOAA is working close with NASA’s Johnson Space Center to determine if the six ( 6 ) spacecraft residents of the International Space Station ( ISS ) need to take shelter in more protected areas of the orbiting laboratory, he added.

 

The flurry of recent space weather events could also supercharge aurora displays ( also known as the Northern Lights and Southern Lights ) for sky-watchers at high latitudes.

 

“Auroras are probably the treat that we get when the sun erupts,” Kunches said.

 

Over the next couple days, Kunches estimates that brightened auroras could potentially be seen as far south as the southern Great Lakes region, provided the skies are clear.

 

Yesterday’s ( March 6, 2012 ) solar flares erupted from the giant active sunspot AR1429, which spewed an earlier X Class Category 1.1 solar flare on Sunday ( March 4, 2012 ). The CME from that one ( 1 ) outburst mostly missed Earth, passing Earth by last night ( March 6, 2012 ) at around 11 p.m. EST, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center ( SWPC ), which is jointly managed by NOAA and the National Weather Service ( NWS ).

 

This means that the planet ( Earth ) is ‘already experiencing heightened geomagnetic and radiation effects in-advance’ of the next oncoming ( March 8, 2012 thru March 9, 2012 ) Coronal Mass Ejection ( CME ).

 

“We’ve got ‘a whole series of things going off’, and ‘they take different times to arrive’, so they’re ‘all piling on top of each other’,” Harlan Spence, an astrophysicist at the University of New Hampshire, told SPACE.com. “It ‘complicates the forecasting and predicting’ because ‘there are always inherent uncertainties with any single event’ but now ‘with multiple events piling on top of one another’, that ‘uncertainty grows’.”

 

Scientists are closely monitoring the situation, particularly because ‘the AR1429 sunspot region remains potent’. “We think ‘there will be more coming’,” Kunches said. “The ‘potential for more activity’ still looms.”

 

As the Sun rotates, ‘the AR1429 region is shifting closer to the central meridian of the solar disk where flares and associated Coronal Mass Ejections ( CMEs ) may ‘pack more a punch’ because ‘they are more directly pointed at Earth’.

 

“The Sun is waking up at a time in the month when ‘Earth is coming into harms way’,” Spence said. “Think of these ‘CMEs somewhat like a bullet that is shot from the sun in more or less a straight line’. ‘When the sunspot is right in the middle of the sun’, something ‘launched from there is more or less directed right at Earth’. It’s kind of like how getting sideswiped by a car is different than ‘a head-on collision’. Even still, being ‘sideswiped by a big CME can be quite dramatic’.” Spence estimates that ‘sunspot region AR 1429 will rotate past the central meridian in about 1-week’.

 

The sun’s activity ebbs and flows on an 11-year cycle. The sun is in the midst of Solar Maximum Cycle 24, and activity is expected to ramp up toward the height of the Solar Maximum in 2013.

 

Reference

 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46655901/

 

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Do we need “Planetary Protection?” NASA has a specific website, referenced here ( below ) as do others ( below ), including The Guardians of the Millennium.

Submitted for review and commentary by,

Concept Activity Research Vault E-MAIL: ConceptActivityResearchVault@Gmail.Com WWW: http://ConceptActivityResearchVault.WordPress.Com

Reference

http://planetaryprotection.nasa.gov/about/ [ Planetary Protection ) http://www.lpi.usra.edu/captem/ [ CAPTEM ] http://www.nrl.navy.mil/pao/pressRelease.php?Y=2008&R=39-08r [ U.S. Naval Research Laboratory ] http://hesperia.gsfc.nasa.gov/sftheory/imager.htm [ RHESSI ]